Contested Wills in Belmont, California

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In Belmont, California, there is a process through which a person can challenge the validity of a will. This is recognized as a "contested will" or "will contest."

A will is normally contested when a family member who expected to inherit a large amount of money or property are disappointed with the contents of the will, particularly if the testator's motives are not clear. They will usually assume that the will must be a forgery, or a result of fraud or force.

If a massive amount of money or property is being given away, the person left out of the will could rationally conclude that the cost and time of a court challenge is worth it.

As with the initiation of any other legal proceeding, contesting a will is a big decision. It can be time-consuming and costlye. It also has the possibility to damage family relationships and foster strife among individuals who are already mourning the loss of a loved one.

When Can a Will be Contested in Belmont, California?

Of course, a Belmont, California court will not invalidate a will without a very good reason, but there are some instances which render a will clearly invalid.

For instance, a will which was not made under the testator's own volition and free will is not valid. This means that the testator must be acting voluntarily throughout the entire process of making his will. Thus, a will made under duress (force, or threat of force) will not be given effect. In order to show duress, you generally need to first prove that the person named in the will was in a position of trust and power over the decedent, and that they are an "unnatural beneficiary" (someone who you would not normally expect to receive a gift under a will, usually because they are not related to, or close friends with, the testator). These facts, taken alone, are never enough to definitively prove that duress occurred. They are, however, usually enough to suggest that something strange is going on, and warrant further investigation.

Because a testator must know what they are doing in order to write a valid will, the testator must be of sound mind at the time the will is made. Essentially, if a person is unaware of what they're doing, and the consequences of their actions, they can't make a legitimate will. This can be due to mental illness, or intoxication. Of course, if it's a result of intoxication, the testator can simply sober up and then make a perfectly valid will.

If the contest is successful, a court in Belmont, California might find the will or part of it invalid. Of course, that leaves the question of how to distribute the property in the absence of a valid will. All states have laws that address this situation, normally passing the property to the decedent's closest living kin. All states have laws governing the order in which property is passed on in this manner. Usually, it goes to the spouse first. If there is no living spouse, it goes to the children. If there are no children, it goes to the decedent's parents, and so on. Most laws on this subject are written in such a way that almost everyone will have at least one relative entitled to inherit, even if that person is very distantly related to the decedent. In the very rare case where no living relatives exist, or none can be found, the decedent's assets usually go to the state.

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Can a Belmont, California Contested Will Attorney Help?

Contesting a will is never particularly easy or enjoyable. However, a seasoned Belmont, California attorney can help take some of the burden off of you, and handle some of the most difficult aspects of this process.

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Life in Belmont

Belmont, California is a city in San Mateo County, in the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area. It currently has a population of about 25,000 people.

Belmont is known for having one of the most restrictive set of anti-smoking laws in the U.S. In Belmont, smoking is prohibited in all public parks, all workplaces, and all multistory apartment buildings. The law largely owes its existence to lobbying by a group of retirees who were concerned over the health effects of secondhand smoke drifting into their retirement community from outside. While the law is not particularly popular among smokers, non-smokers and public health organizations are overwhelmingly in favor of it.

Because this law imposes new regulations on landlords and business-owners, the lawyers of Belmont, California sometimes have to advise those parties about complying with the law, providing them with a good amount of business.

So, if you live in Belmont, California and are in need of a lawyer, you're in luck. There are plenty of successful and experienced Belmont, California attorneys who can help you with almost any legal issue.

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